In the book ‘The Awakened One’, Satya Vedant (aka Vasant Joshi) narrates insightfully the circumstances around Osho’s going public with his enlightenment many years after the event happened.
Bhagwan himself did not reveal the event of enlightenment to anyone for about twenty years. The story came out rather dramatically one night while Bhagwan was living in the Woodland Apartments in Bombay. Kranti, Bhagwan’s cousin, was often asked by friends if she knew when Bhagwan was enlightened. She could not tell them because she did not know, but every time someone new asked her about it, she again felt the impulse to try to find out from Bhagwan. Kranti finally asked Bhagwan about his enlightenment:
“Last night, November 27, 1972, the curiosity that I had carried for so long became uncontrollable. It was about eleven thirty. After taking his milk Bhagwan had gone to bed. I also lay down in my bed and suddenly I felt like asking Bhagwan when he had attained enlightenment. No sooner had the thought occurred to me that I asked, ‘When did you attain enlightenment?’” (Joshi 1982, p. 57)
Bhagwan is urging Kranti to remember by herself as she was a witness at that time to the whole event when they were living together in Jabalpur. In their nightly dialogue of questions and answers almost twenty years later Bhagwan concludes that the event took place at two o’clock in the morning on March 21, 1953, in Bhawal Tal Park where he sat under the Maulshree tree:
“I was known all over the country as the acharya. The acharya means a master, a teacher, and I was a teacher, and I was teaching and travelling. That was just the introductory part of my work; that was to invite people. In his last moments Vivekananda said he had been calling for one hundred people to come forward to work with him, but that they had not come and that he was dying a very unhappy and disappointed man. Vivekananda was convinced that he could have changed the world if those hundred men had come forward. But they never came. And Vivekananda died.
“I have decided not to call but to go to the villages and search out those hundred men. I will look deep into their eyes to fathom the depths of their souls. And if they do not heed my call I will bring them forward by force, by compulsion. If I am able to bring together one hundred such men I assure you that the souls of those one hundred men will stand out like Mount Everest, casting their brilliance on an erring mankind and leading it to the right path.”
Osho continues and elaborates on his vision and the seekers needed to carry on the torch:
“Those who accept my challenge and have the strength and courage to walk that difficult path with me must remember that the path is not only difficult, it is also unknown. It is like a tremendously vast sea, and we have no map, no chart of its depths. But the man who has the courage to enter the deep water should realize that he only has that strength and power because God himself has called on him. Otherwise he would never be so brave.
“In Egypt it was believed that when a man called on God for strength and guidance it was because God has already called on him and that there would have been no call otherwise. Those who have this inner urge have a responsibility towards mankind. And today it is of the utmost urgency to go to the four corners of the world, to sound the call for men to step forward to sacrifice their whole lives to reaching the heights of spirituality and enlightenment…
“I am throwing out a great challenge to those who feel they have something good to offer humanity. I intend to wander through as many villages as necessary, and if I encounter eyes that can serve as lights for others, or eyes in which I feel I can kindle the burning flame of conviction, I will take those people with me and I will work on them. I will make them able. I will impart to them all the faculties necessary to enable them to hold high the torch and illumine the dark path men thread to a brighter future, to a future full of knowledge and light.
“As for myself I am fully prepared, I do not intend to die like Vivekananda saying I spent my life searching for a hundred men and could not find them.” (41)
Excerpt from the Osho Source Book by Anand Neeten (aka Pierre Evald)